Retirement shouldn’t be a time of retreating from society. Sure there may be a time you need to get away from what your life has been in the last few years but, if your passed the “holiday” period of retirement – its time to reconnect with the world. Here is 10 suggestions on reconnecting.
1 Spend more time with family and friends. This is a no brainer unless there is trouble and even then, spending time trying to fix the problems may not be such a bad thing. Of course, if that’s the problem, then you may need to begin by apologising for your part in the problems. It may not fix anything but it is a beginning and may be the breakthrough they were waiting for. It doesn’t matter who you think was to blame, you had a part in the whole process and you probably think it’s smaller than it really was. They undoubtedly think it was bigger than it really was but you almost certainly had some part. But think it through before you begin. Work out exactly what you are going to say, figure out if you can what you expect them to say and set a time limit on your first visit so you can escape before things get heated.
2 Meet your former workmates for lunch. They probably haven’t forgotten you so this is a good chance to reconnect and touch base with the people who were once central figures in your life. You may have retired – but you aren’t dead, so make some time, set a date and invite a few former friends. If you pay for the lunch, they will most likely come, but even if you meet in a local sandwich shop, they will probably join you.
3 Host a dinner party each week. If you can find a local friend or two invite them over for a meal you cook. If you’re like me, it will probable be a barbeque but, if you are more like those cooks on TV, you could try something a little more exotic. If you need some friends, you can probably find them in your local church. If you live in suburbia, try inviting the neighbours – they are those people who live next door who you haven’t met yet!
4 Write more emails. Instead of complaining to your spouse, write an email to your local politician. In Australia that gives you the choice of three – Local Government, State Government and Federal Government. But you need to do some research first, to work out which level of government has the power to fix what you want done. Each level of government has power over different things. Writing to a Federal politician about parking in your street, probably wont get a reply other than the automated “we have received your email and will respond sometime”. If that doesn’t take your fancy, try writing to a long lost friend. You may have to research white pages or Facebook to find them but it’s worth the effort.
5 Start or join a book club. If you are a big reader, the good news is there are other big readers out there too so an ad in your local paper might get some interest but probably a post on Facebook will get better result. You can boost (advertise) something on Facebook to reach people who aren’t friends yet. It might cost you a few dollars but it’s worth it.
6 Volunteer to do activities with other people. The Red Cross is looking for volunteers in your area as are most community groups. So this is a great way to get some more social contact and contribute to society while your are at it. Contact Volunteering Australia as a starting point.
7 Join a club. The typical picture of retired blokes is with a bowling ball in hand. That works for many men, but so does the Bridge club, the Model aircraft club, the local Amateur Radio group, a Cooking Club, the Cricket club or any number of sporting clubs. There are hundreds of groups on the Gold Coast that meet for walking, doing tech stuff, Dining groups. You can find them on Meetup.com and find something you would like to do. In fact there is a club or group out there just waiting for you to join!
8 Join your local shed group. If you are handy with your hands, you can find and join your local Men’s shed. You never know you might learn some skills you never knew you had, and you will contribute to whatever cause they are supporting at the time.
9 Join your local seniors group. You picture of a Seniors group may be of a group of 80 year olds sitting around talking but that may not be the case. You can only find out if you go there and have a look. They often have activated, bus trips etc and even if they are 80 years old, they may need your help with organising, fixing things or helping them find human interaction.
10 Join Facebook. Look up RetiredBlokes on Facebook and start a conversation about retirement and what you do. It only need to be about 200 words. Then when you post it with your picture, I get to approve it and it will go live next day. We may even choose to boost your post like the one I wrote last week which got over 800 views. If you are not into computers, go to your local shopping centre, look around for some lonely people and start a conversation – thats called FaceTime! It’s easier than you think and there are a lot of lonely people out there.
The deal is you are not finished yet. You have a lot to give to the world around you if you can find your niche. So get out there and start looking today.